Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Streetcar Strike of 1916 Included Violence in Pelham

In July 1913, workers on the trolley lines of the Westchester Electric Railroad Company serving Mount Vernon, Pelham and New Rochelle, together with workers on the Yonkers trolley lines went out on strike stopping streetcar service in lower Westchester County. The strike eventually spread to transit lines in New York City and much violence followed as companies tried to run trolleys despite the strike. The strike lasted many weeks. Even after the matter was "settled", disputes arose over firings of union workers who participated in the strike and various union members in New York City voted to go out on a second strike. Elements of the dispute continued well into 1917.

Pelham was the scene of several instances of violence related to efforts by the Westchester Electric Railroad Company to run cars through the area during the strike. In one instance, women and children riding in Pelham were struck by stones and cut by flying glass when strikers and sympathizers attacked the trolley in which they were riding. The New York Times reported at the time:

"Oct. 21. -- Just as the people of New Rochelle, Pelham, and Mount Vernon thought the street car strike situation was settling down, a gang of fifty strikers and sympathizers in Pelham Heights today stoned the three trolley cars that were run on the main line between Mount Vernon and New Rochelle. There were women and children in all three cars, and several of them were hit by the stones and cut by glass, but none seriously."

Source: [Untitled Article, "Special to The New York Times"], N.Y. Times, Oct. 22, 1916, p. 19.

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